By Ajogwu Jerry
“We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbours”
— Sun Tzu
Admiringly less perturbed by the terrain; a hero renowned for resilience, idealism, pragmatism and above all a leader personified to lead his troops by example, he went to the trenches, fought alongside his troops and conquered. In his honour and outstanding legacies, “The Legend of Buratai” was launched in the month of May 2019 but it was summed as a pamphlet; rich in content and a model to the younger generation but the character discussed in that beautiful combination of fiction and nonfiction attempted to limit the reverence however not with harmful intent because in all, the life and times of the indefatigable trailblazer par excellence can be abridged to feature only in an encyclopaedia to be utilized by technocrats and warlords for a lifetime.
Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai is an institution and the most motivated, highly skillful, pragmatic, intellectually dignified and professionally proactive Army Chief the Nigerian Armed Forces ever produced. He belongs to the military class where action speaks louder than voice and gentility does not entails indolence.
Upon assumption of duty in July 2015, he relocated from the comfort of his office at the Army Headquarters to lead his troops in the Theatre and this routine efforts yielded positive results within a span of three years – of him personally leading the charge, thereby bringing all activities of the once dreaded and rated most deadly terrorist group in the world – Boko Haram to a crashing defeat.
General Tukur Buratai was able to achieve this feat which his predecessors could not tackle using mix of strategies of violence professional means and non violence approach; so many insurgents were captured alive, rehabilitated and today they are full of life with thanksgiving directed at the indefatigable Nigerian Army Chief for granting them a second chance. Just like Sun Tzu’s military tact and style, “to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting”.
The defeat of insurgency in Nigeria’s northeastern region and the present striving of the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) showing its ugly head can be rated as the last kick of a dying horse because in line with a recent declaration and stance by General Buratai – in reference to the defeated elements, he said “Boko Haram has been defeated and never again will they come back to Nigeria”. This has closed the chapter of insurgency in the Northeast with troops now deployed to the Northwest to counter armed banditry.
During the last Eid–El–Fitr Celebration, Gen Buratai toured the frontline to celebrate the festivity with troops. He slept in the trenches; fought alongside with various deployment, ate from the same pot with his men and boosted their morale because according to his professional ideology and personal charisma, war is won at the battlefield when commanders visit the Theatre to dole out instructions and forcefully participate in the liberation of conquered or tormented societies.
General Buratai visited his troops during the celebration marking an end of the Holy month of Ramadan and felicitated with them. His first port of call after his interactions with frontline troops fighting banditry in Zamfara State was an operational visit to Yar Gamji – a remote village recently attacked by bandits. Represented by the Chief of Training and Operations Army, Maj Gen Lamidi Adeosun, the COAS had a one on one interactions with local vigilantes and troops of the Nigerian Army before proceeding to the Palace of the Emir of Batsari where he the “legend” was received amidst wild jubilation, celebration and honour. The traditional ruler applauded President Buhari and the Army Chief for their indelible and remarkable roles by providing succour for him and his subjects at a time all hope seems to be lost. He saluted the gallantry of General Buratai and his men with prayers and fatherly blessings.
Immediately after departing the Palace, representative of the Army Chief and his fortified entourage, proceeded to the Forward Operation Base in Batsari local government area of Katsina State and hosted a Sallah day luncheon with the Secretary of the State Government in attendance.
Gen Lamidi Adeosun read the goodwill message of the COAS to the troops who were visibly in high spirits with confessions of how General Tukur Buratai has made their sojourns in the Nigerian Army the best decision they ever made. It was heart touching and an everlasting reminisce witnessing high ranking Army Generals dishing and eating from the same pot with the lowest ranking troops fighting armed banditry in the region.
The luncheon was declared open by the Secretary to the State Government of Katsina State was a beehive of activities as troops celebrate in moderation with praises of the Chief of Army Staff and the President of Nigeria for bettering their lives and boosting their welfare and that of their immediate families. Troops deployed at Batsari looks well armed and motivated – most of them openly and unanimously confessed to this writer that the presence of the Army Chief in the frontline will further boost their morale and fighting spirits as they continue the onslaughts against the bandits in the region. The troops also thanked the army leadership for providing the needed logistics of arms and operational vehicles to aid their operations. They also requested for additional gun trucks to upscale the war efforts.
The COAS alongside his troops later went for an on spot assessment and operational visit to a route often used by invading bandits located in Tashan Moddibo / Batsari border town where the proactive Army Chief ordered the clearing of bushes and shrubs in the area to grant troops utmost visibility and to discourage invaders and bandits from launching subsequent attacks.
High points of the COAS visit to the Northwest was at the Government House where he was hosted by the State Governor Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari. Showered with encomiums almost as envisaged by the Governor of Zamfara State, his counterpart Dr Mohammed Bello, the Chief Security of Katsina State, Masari note worthily saluted the passionate and timely commitments of General Buratai in securing lives and properties across the State. He pledged to render the necessary logistics and support to ensure that the menace of armed banditry is erased from the history of Katsina State.
From the trenches and beyond the frontline, General Buratai has continued to earn glorifying accolades for enhancing peace and security in Nigeria; by defeating insurgency in the Northeast and presently crushing bandits in the Northwest region of Nigeria. He has succeeded in writing his name with gold and generation yet unborn will benefit from the dutiful commitments / contributions of General Tukur Buratai to humanity. He is indeed a legend.
Ajogwu is a Defence Correspondent with TheNigerian